The vertebrate cardiovascular system is designed to move a variety of molecules over considerable distances throughout the body faster than they would move by diffusion alone. It uses blood flow, which is movement by convection. In this article the basic design of the cardiovascular system is described using the analogy of a city water supply. Definitions and examples of various pressures and physical elements that contribute to vascular resistance are combined to illustrate the properties that regulate fluid flow. The sophisticated role of the venous system is presented through stepwise development of a prototypical cardiovascular system. This article provides the background necessary to understand the detailed aspects of fish cardiovascular function described elsewhere.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Encyclopedia of Fish Physiology|
|Number of pages||7|
|State||Published - Dec 1 2011|